By Megan Rauscher
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – When it comes to exercise and physical activity, people who are severely obese often feel defeated and think — why bother. But a new study shows why they should bother, according to the study team.
Even a little bit of exercise – as little as 1 hour a week – can boost their quality of life and ability to complete everyday tasks like getting dressed, tying shoes and simply moving around, the study found.
“This study speaks to the importance of people who are overweight, even severely overweight, paying attention to the fact that increasing their activity even a little bit can make their day to day life better,” Dr. Martin Binks told Reuters Health.
Binks is research director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, a residential weight loss program at Duke University Medical Center. He and colleagues examined the relationship between current activity levels and quality of life in roughly 1,200 severely obese men and women entering the Duke weight loss program. On average, these individuals were 100 pounds overweight.
In a pre-program assessment, it was noted that patients who reported being physically active for just under 60 minutes a week, on average, had a better overall quality of life and had an easier time performing daily tasks.
“These folks were not reporting high levels of activity yet they still felt better,” Binks said. “This supports what we’ve been teaching for years – no amount of exercise is too little to have an impact. And it’s beneficial no matter what you weigh.”
“The benefits of exercise,” he added, “are not just limited to appearance and muscle tone. Exercise makes people feel better about themselves and function better.”
Binks presented his research at the Obesity Society’s 2008 annual scientific meeting in Phoenix, Arizona